Yeah, right! - Writings by Brian Murdock

Archive for January, 2012

Travel

January 29, 2012

I’ll Be Home for Xmas 11

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No other moment symbolized the change that was to come to downtown Greenwichlike the day Woolworths was bought out and turned into a Saks 5th Avenue.  Yeap.  That pretty much hammered the nail in the coffin.  Deep in there.  And there was no looking back.

        Greenwich Avenue, when I was growing up, was a fairly typical New England center, with everyday shops lining up and down such as a stationary store, a butcher, a toy store, a hardware store, a Hallmark shop, a small grocery store, some local bookstores and, of course, your Woolworths…you know, the usual stuff you find.  The “Avenue”, as it is called locally, had nothing really glitzy about it.  If anyone ever wanted to do some serious shopping, they went to the city, NYC of course.

         The initial incursions into the town by fashionable chains and high end bistros suggested the demure appearance of the downtown was under threat.  Saks simply confirmed the fears.  The legendary 5-and-dime was probably having a tough time adapting to the new tastes of the 1980s, but it seemed like one of those places humanity would always need, like bread or professional sports.  Yeah right.  DowntownGreenwichwas in for some profound changes, as was the rest of the town itself.  The fact that it was a luxury clothes store that took its place could not have been more fitting. It said, “See yah, old-fashionedAmerica.”

          Then the floodgates opened and everyone joined the movement; hardly a shop remains from my youth.  The rest have been ousted by Ralph Lauren, Polo, and such.  Now I think only Bestever dry cleaners, the locksmith and the Knapp funeral parlor persist.  People in this town still need clean suits, extra keys and a good place to die.

         Now, even some of the first-wavers are teetering beneath the pressure of a strained economy.  The lingerie giantVictoria’s Secret has announcing it will close.  What a depressing thought.  I loved that place if only for the fact that it gave a man a mental break from the otherwise droll stroll down the street.  It also gave the town a touch of raciness.

         The place always cracked me up because towards the back there was a glass above-ground tunnel that led from the building to the neighboring church.  It is a Catholic church called St. Mary’s and the temple where Robert Kennedy married.  It passage actually was access to the building but behind the store but from the street it looked like a little getaway for the clergy from their humdrum holy lives.

          But now it is saying goodbye forever.  Is this a sign that the town is entering a new phase, or is it thatGreenwichhas never stopped changing?  Except for crisp shirts, deadbolt locks and embalming.

Fiction

January 28, 2012

We don’t give change for the parking meters: an excerpt, so they claim

Mr. Swift told the sensitive audience his story, just minutes before the explosion.

                       “I’m no detective, until today.

He has balcony eyes.  And if I had to put my money on it I’d say that said he had at least six pictures on the walls of his bedroom, I promise, I promise he does.  If I didn’t now him better I’d swear I’d known him as a child.  Civilly of course, and naturally speaking, as you’d expect.  So you have asked for me to come in here and speak on his behalf, which of the two you have not specified, I am almost tempted to step outside, as long as the ledge doesn’t tend to give, and wait along the solitary concrete for you to deliberate and thus allow me to get some fresh air pockets I’ve been keeping around for these moments, for just these moments, for a rainy day, they say.

        No, I don’t smoke, can you smoke in here? No, I don’t smoke can you smoke in here? Did you say I could smoke anyway, then I don’t mind if I do, say, I don’t smoke but thanks so nice of you.  I always knew he would et into this kind of trouble, but not this kind, if you know what I mean, if you know what I mean )say it slower the second time for effect(.  I was thinking more along the lines of toaster trouble, or, let me give some thought to it, rudder trouble, could it be.  Maybe a fine at the most trouble.  But this would surprise me to no end of the earth, where a ship bound ship stalls.  It’s that monumental.  It’s that egregious.  It’s that error.

        This is what happened.  I told him.  And he said no.  I told him.  And he said no.  I told him and he said no.  The third time around was different though and that made the difference, of time of height of opinion of mind. Which is what I have made up right now.  Like a sitting lime.  Like a cranky lawyer.  Like a frightened cage.  There is nothing more disparaging than a frightened cage.  They tend to leave night all alone by itself…and day to handle the rest.  That’s what cage does, it does, it does.

        So here is my number and my email and my name of course.  I’ll leave them with you by the corner of the saucer in case you need me.  Just release him, though,

               I thought, I’m afraid I meant everything.”

Spain

January 26, 2012

My Friend Spanish: Lesson 243 – don’t call it Spanish

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The other day I was taking out some money from an ATM machine (in about a hundred years, all we will speak in is acronyms), and I came across a surprise.  It wasn’t that I was taking money out, nor that I had any money to even withdraw, though it might raise a few eyebrows, but rather that the section indicating the language I wanted use to proceed with the operation (I was tempted to go for Turkish, but don’t know know the word for “checking account”, and noticed that one choice said “español”.

     Now a bunch of you may be saying, “duh, no kidding Brian.”  Others may think I am under the 2:45 a.m. effect, and most may have moved on to another website, but if you are still hanging on, let me say that you are in for a few lines of immense illumination: it shall be your prize for patience and perserverence.

    You see, as odd as it may seem, most ATMs don’t denote the language as such, but rather as “castellano” or the language of Castile, which in a sense is the most accurate term.  You see, there are five official languages in Spain, none of them are English or Turkish, but rather Spanish and four regional tongues of greater or lesser presence.  Two are actually identical, but I have discussed that in another post.

      Anyway, many people in Spain (especially)  take offence to the use of español because they feel it is an imposition and they do have a point.  Afterall, it would be as if we called English (the language of England) “British”.  The Welsh and Scots would have good reason to take issue with the term.   It’s not the only language they use on that island.  The same thing here.  The thing is, “español” has been the term used for centuries and volumes have been written on the subject.  But “castellano” is equally valid and common.

    Where’s the problem?  None really, other than that it has become somewhat politically correct to called “español” “castellano” so as not to ruffle any feathers, which is why you see it in so many official places. What grabbed my attention was that the ATM machine belonged to a Catalan bank (Catalonia being one of the most fervent defenders of its language).  Now that makes sense…then again the Catalans also have the reputation of being Spain’s shrewdest businessmen…so maybe it does.

        Ok.  You can go to another website.  That’s all I have to say for today.  Oh…It’s three in the morning…be gentle with my lax proofreading…

In Spanish,Madrid

January 23, 2012

CentrortneC…o algo así

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Es que mientras estoy peleándome para sacar mi nuevo libro en inglés, casi se me olvida de escribir en español, cosa tremendamente dañino porque está a punto de salir la versión en castellano…bueno digo pronto…veréis…la fecha de salida era en septiembre…es decir…va todo según lo previsto en mi calendario especial…

   Pues había pasado una temporada en la que he salido más bien poco a ver las cosas nuevas, y el otro día me invitaron a conocer una cosa nueva en el antiguo palacio de comunicaciones en la Plaza de Cibeles.  Anteriormente y popularmente conocido como “correos”, como si un edificio de semenjante grandeza se pudiera considerar solo un sitio donde la gente lame pegamento en el dorso de unos papelitos cuadrados, este lugar fue tomado, no por la fuerza creo, por el ayuntamiento.   Aún hay una oficina para echar cartas, por motivos de posteridad supongo, y en alguna parte debe de moverse la alcaldesa, previamente la First Lady de este país, pero la verdad es que no me había molestado en entrar en aquella tarta de piedra, diseñada por el gallego Antonio Palacios, desde hace años.

    Pues resulta que han hecho unas cuantas cosas y todo sin consultarme.  Les perdono.  Sobre todo desde que me he descubierto la maravilla que se ha creado: es toda un centro cultural en el centro…de ahí viene su nombre.   El escritor Bill Bryson siempre se quejaba de que su padre era un agarrado de mucho cuidado y que organizaba sus vacaciones alrededor del premiso de que si un lugar turístico es gratis, merece la pena visitar.  Resulta que no era así, previsiblemente.   No obstante, en el mismísimo centro de Madrid, sí que hay un sitio que te deja el bolsillo intacto al salir y que te ofrece una gama de actividades culturales muy interesantes.

    Vi el otro día una exposisción llamado algo así como Un Paseo por el Amor y la Muerte, que se centraba en detalles engrandecidos de famosas obras artísticas en los tres museos principales de Madrid.  Y todo al son de Mozart.   Fuera había una videomatón que cogía tu imagen y la colocaba en la cara de una cuadro conocido.  Vale…no es lo más intelectual pero divierte a los peques.  Arriba hay una zona para leer, para tomarse un café y para ver otras exposiciones.  El interior es impresionante.  Pero impresionante de verdad.  No un impresionante como cuando el autobus no para a recogerte, sino del tipo que te hace susurrar “Joder.  Esto es impresionante”.    Se puede subir al tejado también pero eso será para mi próxima visita, que será pronto, me imagino.

Travel

I’ll be home for Xmas 10

Every town has had its moment in history where it seemed the whole world was looking at it.  Ours was not the day General Israel Putnam scampered off in flight to escape the oncoming British forces, despite what the seals says, nor was it when a man from a neighboring town put his foot on some prime Greenwich sand.  In my opinion, at least in sports, it occurred back in the 1976 Winter Olympics when Dorothy Hamill took home the gold medal for figure skating.  Here’s an example of her winning performances:

Dorothy Hamill

Pretty wild, don’t you think?  Not one triple jump.  Technically and physically, this would be fairly straightfoward stuff by today’s standards, but back then it was commonplace.  In fact, Hamill would go on to be the last skater to win an Olympic gold without attempting the triple jump.  But more than that, she really looked good too.  She was tremendously graceful, which was one of her greatest virtues.

Of course, as a 9-year-old, I can’t say that that was my opinion.  I don’t even recall watching those two historic minutes.  Why would I?  It was figure skating.  But I do remember watching her car sail down Greenwich Avenue as we celebrated a good old-fashioned welcoming parade.  It could not have been more wholesome and more middle America.  Greenwich, at least for a few hours, stopped being one of the wealthiest town’s in the country, and enjoyed being the home to a shy and pretty girl who took the world by surprise.

Travel,Uncategorized

January 10, 2012

I’ll be home for Xmas 9

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If there is one thing that the Greenwich Country Club likes it’s rules.   The GCC, or the Country Club, or simply “the Club”, if you want to sound like the entire staff knows your name, is only one of the ten or so ultra private and select social and leisure institutions in Greenwich know as clubs (there are also four yacht clubs), but perhaps because this one carries the name of the town, much more attention is given to it.  And in the past, not such nice attention.  About twenty years ago an exposé appeared in a New York magazine where a black reporter went under cover as a waiter and revealed the nastiest attitudes sustained within its walls.  The article was certainly unflattering, but you finished with the thought, “What did this person expect?”  He was at one of the most reputedly snobby clubs in one of the most exclusive town’s in the country.  Plus, if something should be said in favor of this club, at least it hired the man.  He had been turned down at no fewer than two other clubs in town for unspecified reasons (i.e. race).

      Despite its stratospheric status, GCC is surprisingly easy to access, especially in the winter went activity slows down like maple sap.  There is no one at the gate to flag you down and interrogate you mainly because there isn’t even a gate.   There are no tire-puncturing barriers or snarling dobermans or guards with nervous trigger fingers.  In fact, there is no one at all.  Believe it or not, I find this heartening.  The way things are today, it’s nice to see the club still at least pretends to feel open.

       But that doesn’t make you feel any more at ease.  In fact, being a member is not such an enviable position when you learn of all the rules you have to obey.  The minute your car dips down that first hill of the driveway, you could swear you hear the voice of something Supreme whispering into your ear, “No, you can’t…”, just in case any radical thoughts or ideas jumped into your head.  And it must be something that effects you as you get older and fear arrest, because as a kid, none of this made any different to me.  I almost grew up at this place, but when I was young it was my father who had to take all the responsibility, so I didn’t care.  My friend and I bowled down the hallways, turned hamburger buns into frisbees, tried to hit BMWs “accidentally” with golf balls (we failed), but it never crossed our minds this would have grave consequences.

      Now that only other people I know belong to it and I don’t, I probably care even less, but I am aware that my acts my have dire consequences for others, and have promised not to set off fire alarms or throw ice cubes onto the squash courts.

        One restriction I admire about the club is the very limited use of electronic devices like cell phones, iPhones, iWhatevers and other distracting gadgets.  By limited, I mean, none, zilch, zippo.  Unless there is emergency.  It is assumed, and correctly so if you ask me, that if granted the right to employ these machines, people would stop engage in little else…and that is not what the Country Club is about.  And they’re right.  It’s about beng sociable.  I guess.  In any event, that’s one thumb up for them from me.  Clearly that means nothing to the club’s governors…but it’s a moral victory for me.

     The dress code is another matter.  One article of clothing that stands out for its absence, in addition to clogs, is denim, or rather anything made with it.  Contrary to what some believe, this prohibition is not peculiar to GCC.  Many clubs around the nation ban jeans in any form to ensure the members go to place looking neat and decent.  I know a woman who had a conference to give in a club out somewhere in Illinois or some place like that and committed the faux pas of arriving in a jean skirt, which prompted her direct passage to the superintendant’s office for close observation and retention until the matter could be solved.  And that was Midwest which is supposed to be laid back about it life.  Yeah, right.

     The norm is so deeply driven into the psyche of its members that they seem to talk about little else.  My brother says things like, “We’re going to lunch there tomorrow, and you can’t wear jeans,” or “How about some bowling?  Just don’t wear jeans,” or even retrospectively, “I played paddle tennis this weekend, and I didn’t wear jeans.”

    If aesthetics were all that counted, then I would understand; the thing is, one morning when I went to pick up my parents, they invited me down to breakfast and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a man in running shorts, a T-shirt and trainers without fear.  He had been doing exercise minutes before and was all sweaty and emanated human effort.  He looked dreadful, as if he were going to keel over right there and then.  I scanned the room for the nearest defibrillator (which not only happens to be one of the most difficult words to pronounce in this language, it reminds me more of an appliance you use to make ice-cream drinks than channel of hope from cardiac arrest) just in case my assistance was needed.  I don’t know how to use one of them, but at least I could point and say, “There’s a defribula…a dufribal…a defroster…what the fuck…one of those things they used on Emergency!” with the remote idea that someone in the room watched Saturday night Tv in the 1970s too.

           A few minutes later two children came down in their pajamas.  That was cute, but kind of unorthodox for a public buffet.  This was in the main dining room mind you.  Where were the dobermans when you needed them?  Boy I really wanted to get into the spirit of things and accuse the child of ruining my coffee by wearing pjs to the danish table, but then I figured that nightwear must somehow be allowed on the premises…as long as they weren’t made of denim.

Memories of a Pilgrim with No Direction (English)

January 8, 2012

Here it is! Finally…

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Well, it’s taken a while, but the first digital version of my new book “A Pilgrim with no Direction” is available at this site.  Here’s the cover.

 

Many of you have enjoyed the initial installments, but it has since been fleshed out, fluffed up, and tidied here and there!   Hope you enjoy it.

At some point in the future, a hard copy version will be available as well as a Spanish language version (also written by me!)

 

Travel

January 4, 2012

I’ll Be Home For Xmas 8

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Here’s the history section I put in the previous post.  I’ll pasted here again so you don’t have to scroll down:

The town of Greenwich was settled in 1640. One of the founders was Elizabeth Fones Winthrop, daughter-in-law of John Winthrop, founder and Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. What is now called Greenwich Point was known for much of the area’s early history as “Elizabeth’s Neck” in recognition of Elizabeth Fones and their 1640 purchase of the Point and much of the area now known as Old Greenwich. Greenwich was declared a township by the General Assembly in Hartford on May 11, 1665.

During the American Revolution, General Israel Putnam made a daring escape from the British on February 26, 1779. Although British forces pillaged the town, Putnam was able to warn Stamford.

In 1983, the Mianus River Bridge, which carries traffic on Interstate 95 over an estuary, collapsed, resulting in the death of three people

For many years, Greenwich Point (locally termed “Tod’s Point”), was open only to town residents and their guests. However, a lawyer sued, saying his rights to freedom of assembly were threatened because he was not allowed to go there. The lower courts disagreed, but the Supreme Court of Connecticut agreed, and Greenwich was forced to amend its beach access policy to all four beaches.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Greenwich’s location as the first Connecticut town off Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway meant that when New York City-area residents wanted to buy Powerball lottery tickets as the jackpot rose above $100 million, they crowded into Greenwich stores to purchase them, creating traffic jams in the business areas. The Connecticut Lottery introduced special rules for such situations. This no longer was a problem after Pennsylvania joined Powerball in 2002; those living west of the Hudson River no longer cross it to buy Powerball tickets.

     There you go.  According to this writer, pretty much nothing happened between the years 1779 and 1983.  That’s a leap of 204 years.  And what did occur since then, with the exception of the bridge collapse, is of very little transcedence.  A man had to go to court to be able to sit on the beach and the Powerball lottery disrupted life in the town during the 1990s.  Come on!  That’s all?

     I remember when a strech of the I-95 Mianus (pronounced /my-ANN-us/  just in case any wise guys were wondering  there) River Bridge collapsed in June (I believe) of 1983, killing three people.   This was no doubt an important moment, albeit sad one, in the history of this town.   The beach affair got national attention because it was snooty Greenwich telling non-residents they couldn’t use their beach.  Greenwich beaches are pretty lame anyway, so why anyone would want to take legal action to swim in water whose waves are generally no higher than a blade of grass is beyond me.  But the man who sued won out in the end and it turned into a big victory for Greenwich haters who never would want to set foot on the beach to begin with.  Congratulations.

     I wasn’t around for the Powerball brawl, but I can just imagine all the residents getting uptight about foreigners (by that I mean New Yorkers and New Jerseyans) invading the area in the hopes of striking it rich.  That must have been entertaining.  Was it deserving of taking up more text space than any other moment in the town’s 37o years of existence?…I don’t think so…but entertaining all the same.

      But I am equally sure that there was something else worth noting must have happened during that two-century span.  Of course there was.

       What about hometown girl Dorothy Hamill taking the olympic gold in ice-skating in the 1976 Games.  How often does that happen?  And they could have also mentioned the very serious plan to create an entire United Nations Headquarters, with city and airport too, in Greenwich, in the land above the Merritt Parkway.   That would have involved confiscating nearly half of the town.  Now that’s something to take up arms about, not whimpering about not having a place to park your car.  They even held a referendum but the proposal was shot down.  Now that would have changed the face of the town.

       What was Greenwich like 150 years ago?  100 years ago?  At the turn of the 20th Century, it was a popular resort town and several very large hotels were built and have since been torn down.  An important art colony inhabited by numerous impressionists painters spouted in Cos Cob in the 19th Century.  There were mills, quarries and factories.  Famous figures like Boss Tweed lived here.  There are all sorts of curiosities.  Binney Park in Old Greenwich, for instance, where the 4th of July fireworks take place, was named for resident Edwin Binney, who designed and supervised its construction, and happened to be the man who invented the Crayola crayon, the most famous brand in America.  The first short-wave radio transmission to Europe was sent from a point just 100 yards from where I grew up, off North Street.  And that’s just scratching the surface.  Yes, I would say that a heck of a lot of things has happened here, but so little has been done to recount it to the people of this town.  Just a simple bit of research here and there reveals so much about a town which gives it more depth and character to its rich history and than just a rich community near New York.

      Something has got to be done about this.

In Spanish,Madrid

January 3, 2012

Dear Mr. Florentino

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Para empezar..que sepa usted que soy madridista porque así me educó mi familia española en mis primeros años de existencia aquí.  Y gracias a esa decisión he podido disfrutar de alguno que otro momento glorioso, no como en los Estados Unidos donde mis equipos son perdedores perenios.  Los Mets de Nueva York están en quiebra y no ganan desde 1986, los Knicks de Nueva York desde 1972 (me parece), los Rangers de Nueva York (hockey sobre hielo) llevaban desde 1940 llevarse un campeonato, hasta 1994, cuando ganó su último título pero ya estaba en España para entonces.  Mi único equipo que no sea de Nueva York, los Dolphins de Miami en el fútbol americano, dominaron a principios de los 70, pero luego nada.  Así que, como puede apreciar, sé lo que es sufrir.

     Sin embargo, el Real Madrid ha sido un equipo que me ha traído muchas alegrías a lo largo de estos años que llevo aquí, a pesar de las dificultades que ha tenido para superar al Barça de los últimos años…que son muchas.  Soy un hombre que, una vez elijo a un equipo, me mantengo leal a el.  Además, como buen padre, he pasado la tradición a mis hijas y ellas también son buenas seguidoras de su club.  De hecho, la pequeña es una fan número uno de Marcelo y fue precisamente por ella que fui a la tienda oficial del Real Madrid en la calle Padre Damián para comprar una camiseta de su talla con el nombre y número de dicho jugador.  Ya sabe usted lo que cuestan esas famosas camisetas, pero no me importaba porque eran Reyes y era su deseo más grande.  Tampoco me importó tener que esperar media hora para llegar a la mesa de seriografía y otros 30 minutos para pagar.  Total así están las tiendas en estas fechas, aunque no habría venido mal contratar a alguno más, si solo para estas fiestas.  Debo informarle de que los dependientes, todos muy jóvenes, eran muy simpaticos y parecían realizar sus labores con eficacia y profesionalidad. Eso se lo digo porque les debería usted felicitar.

      Otra cosa fue lo que encontré al salir.  Justo en esos momentos, daba la casualidad de que salía el autocar que llevaba al equipo a Málaga para el partido de la Copa del Rey.  Había unas cien personas muy emocionadas porque sabían que iban a ver a algunos de sus jugadores preferidos y les apetecía saludarles.  Yo estaba de paso pero seguro que algunos llevaban mucho tiempo esperando.  Arrancó el autocar, salió del recinto y giró a la derecha; pero el semáforo estaba en rojo y les obligó a parar.  La gente se volvía loca y gritaba y saludaba con mucha euforia.  Yo me dejé por la emoción y saludé también aunque sin gritos naturalmente.  Muchos se pusieron pegados al autocar a medio metro de sus futbolistas dentro.

      ¿Qué cree usted que hicieron sus jugadores…sus empleados bien, pero muy bien pagados.  Nada.  Eso es.  Nada.  Ni una mirada, ni una sonrisa, ni una mano levantada.  Nada de nada de nada.  Es más, ni siquiera nos miraban.  Fue el mayor desprecio hacia unos fans que había visto nunca.  ¿Quienes se creen que son?  ¿Qué se han creído?  No llega a ser por la ilusión de mi hija y me daba la media vuelta y devolvía la camiseta en ese mismo instante.

      Soy profesor y vivo al lado de mi colegio y le prometo que cada vez que un alumno me dice hola en la calle, le devuelvo el saludo.  Cada vez. Y si hace falta saludar 25 veces en un día, 50 veces, 100 veces…lo hago.  Porque no cuesta nada.  No es tan difícil.

     Aquellos pobres fans estaban tan ilusionados y que hacían todo lo posible por llamarles la atención.  Pero no sirvió de nada.  Los jugadaores les ningunearon.  No existían.  Lo que pasa es que sí existen.  Quedé atónito.

        Es posible que usted no sea consciente de este comportamiento, con lo cual, solo quería avisarle.  Queda feo.  Queda triste.  Los fans merecemos mucho más que un plantón así, y no solo los que hemos pagado un dineral por una de sus camisetas.  Todos los fans se merecen más.  Y debería ser la política del club insistir en un trato de mínima cortesía hacia los milliones que les apoyan.  Es así de fácil.

The Desperate Artist,Uncategorized

Talented Eyebrows?

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Yeah, right!  Today I am going to go back to the heart and soul of my website and gripe a little.  I usually try to stay away from big issues of the day, but this time I feel compelled to say something because from what I can tell, no one has.  There is a 36-sec video that has gone viral which features a pretty young Austrialian girl who is able to move here eyebrows in a comical way to the beat of some pop song…sounds a little Indian, but I am a loser when it comes to modern pop music so don’t take my word for it.  The image and title of the clip was plastered on my Yahoo! home page for so long I finally gave in and took a look.  Yes, it was cute.  I’m not sure if it was viral material, but it was cute.  She certainly had an amusing way of making them dance, but her ability was no more remarkable than the kind you see from a person who can wiggle their ears or bend their fingers backwards.

      Now let’s be honest with ourselves, because that is not the only reason she has had nearly 10 million visits in a week.  It’s because she is very pretty too.  Almost stunning for her age.  But there’s the problem, her age: she’s only 13.  As a result of her success, she has decided to open a Facebook account for her “fans”.  Can you believe it?  Of course, I went from the article where I read about the video to the page to check out what was there, and the girl had some 45,000 “likes” to date.  Thank God the “Friend” options had been shut down.

     But there were comments, oh yeah, plenty of them.  Most remarks came from men, many were adults, and you could find such endearing comments like “You are very sexy” or “I love you very long time”, etc.  The vast majority were neutral compliments, but that doesn’t mean anything.  So is “Would you like some candy?”  Thank God, one person suggested she close the account, go outside and enjoy life in a different way.  But that wasn’t the prevailing mood, I tell you.

      I realize that the girl may have had only the most innocent intentions when she uploaded the video (though the Facebook account makes me suspicious, and I also get the feeling she is getting help here), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole slew of issues that need to be addressed and which haven’t so far.  At least they hadn’t the last time I scanned the net.  So, I just had to write and possibly be the first one on the planet to publically denounce the “eyebrow girl” video for several reasons:

  • Search engines and media like Yahoo! and the Huffington Post give unnecessary attention to these activities (In a sense I am doing the same, but I refuse to add a video link or even give the girl’s name) and by doing so also encourage others to believe that all it takes is for a simple 30-second amusing but innane video for world fame to land at a person’s door.  They champion fame at no cost and ignore the benefits of effort.
  • I know this is an old one…but what about all of those other 13-year-olds who are brilliant musicians, artists, writers, students, scientists, athletes, etc. and who get only limited recognition (in most cases limited to friends and family) despite years of hard work?  Do you ever see a chance for them to go viral?  Do these other pages feature a pinply-faced kid bringing down the hall with a prodigious rendition of Bach?  Maybe sports players get their due at best, but the rest are completely ignored.  And throughout the world where these achievers must number more than the visits she has received, it seems just a little unfair.
  • In a year when pedophilia scandals have rocked our society, and where a great deal of criticism has been placed on certain individuals for having had a moral obligation to do more to prevent such heinous acts, shouldn’t that same standard be applied to those who are trumpeting this video and even adding links to the Facebook account so that people, and I mean anyone, can have more access to this girl?  Would she be getting all this attention if she were much more plain-looking?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.
  • What do her parents have to say about this all?

       Call me hysterical.  Call me nuts.  Call me what you will.  But in a world where there are more than a billion internet users, it saddens me to think that no one has blown the whistle on this.  I will be greatly relieved to find that I am wrong.